LEAD716 Helps Lead Poisoned Children

The Learning Disabilities Association of Western New York (LDA of WNY) is offering a FREE program aimed to provide critically-needed early academic intervention to 3 and 4 year old children diagnosed with elevated lead levels. The mentoring will focus on early literacy skill development and help ensure the children are prepared for success in kindergarten and beyond.

Lead poisoning is 100% preventable; however, if affected, the damage can be permanent. LDA of WNY is working to mitigate these negative effects on a child’s cognitive ability, during a critical time in brain development. Children affected by the toxins are at greater risk of:

  • Lower IQ scores

  • Speech and hearing difficulties

  • Learning disabilities

  • Attention problems

  • Behavior issues

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), children with developmental delays or at high risk for developmental delays, benefit most from interventions that start at an early age.

Every year thousands of children under the age of six in Erie County are diagnosed with elevated blood lead levels. According to the CDC, there is no safe level of lead in the blood. The lead can be found anywhere in Erie County, but exposure often occurs in older homes when the child is exposed to lead paint chips or dust. The Department of Health has identified several zip codes as “Communities of Concern,” where children are at exceptionally high risk: 14201, 14207, 14208, 14209, 14210, 14211, 14212, 14213, and 14215.

According to LDA of WNY’s Chief Executive Officer, Michael Helman, “Our mission at LDA is to provide high-quality individualized, comprehensive, and innovative services, which support, educate, and empower all individuals with learning or developmental disabilities. With the LEAD 716 program, we are focused on helping kids before they enter school – before they encounter learning problems – at an age when they are more resilient. It is our hope, as a result of this project, that children in Erie County who have been affected by lead will lead healthier, more successful lives.”

The program is made possible by grants from The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation and The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.

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